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Weekly Wisdoms for the week of August 6, 2018

We want to be spiritually grown, but we don't like growing because growing hurts.

Growing can be painful. For example, some children have "growing pains" because of their rapid growth.

This can also be true spiritually. Specifically, God may stretch you by putting uncomfortable circumstances in your life. Why? He uses the hard times to stretch your faith, your patience, and your love. This stretching is what causes growth: "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" (2 Corinthians 4:17).

In other words, God uses the difficult circumstances in your life to cause you to grow closer to Him. If you look back over your life, you'll probably notice that the times you grew the most spiritually were often the times that were the most difficult.

If, however, you fight against the hard circumstances in your life, then you will never fully grow up. So, instead of fighting against life, take the advice of James 1:2-4: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

Decide to press on and go through so that your faith may grow. Go through the hard times in life trusting God, and then you will grow to be "mature and complete, not lacking anything."

Idolatry is to love what has been made more than the God who made it.

In Exodus 20:3-5, God gives Israel this command: "You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God."

It is easy to label an idol as some wooden or bronze statue, or a golden cow, or something else like that. And certainly, such things could be idols; however, an idol is much more than that. An idol is anything you put in front of God.

Ezekiel 14:3 says that "men have set up idols in their hearts," meaning that their internal priorities are wrong. Today, although probably very few people in Western culture still bow down to statues or other such physical idols, many people bow down to idols "in their hearts."

For example, money and status are things that we often place ahead of God. However, God is "a jealous God," and He demands first place in your life. Therefore, take to heart the instruction found in 1 John 5:21: "Dear children, keep yourselves from idols."

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